I need to create a tool that identifies drivers installed apart from the original installation and updates of a Windows operating system.

There are various tools that can be used to interrogate an installed operating system and even an offline Windows image. However, I was wondering if this information is available in other ways that would mean not having to install each of the operating systems of interest, then check again following releases of hotfixes etc. Some online catalog perhaps.

At first glance, Microsoft Update Catalog looks like the kind of thing I'm thinking of, but it does not to appear to support searching for all drivers of a given operating system. https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Faq.aspx

  • Given that Windows updates itself and its drivers automatically during installation based on what is installed in the system it is going to be difficult to get a definitive list that isn't in constant flux. Drivers can be updated and uploaded to Microsoft update systems at any time. – Mokubai Dec 6 at 15:40
  • There are numerous third-party tools that will generate a list of drivers that are currently installed, but if you are trying to streamline your installation process, your best bet to simplify the process is to add those drivers to your installation image. – Ramhound Dec 6 at 15:43
  • In short, there are no shortcuts to the information. – harrymc Dec 6 at 15:44
  • @Mokubai Indeed, this is the problem. The tool I need to create is to help with migration of applications from legacy operating systems and I need to suggest third-party drivers on which the application might be dependent. – fractor Dec 6 at 15:46
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    Then there is potentially an XY problem here and you are attacking it from the wrong direction. If you ask what drivers are required for a particular program to work with a specific device we might actually be able to help. That would be a new question though. – Mokubai Dec 6 at 17:11
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Negative answer : There are no databases listing which drivers will be installed for which configuration.

The number of possible combinations of hardware devices and drivers, both Windows-generic and third-party, is simply too large and is besides in constant evolution.

Windows installs according to the hardware it knows about at the moment, but this decision may change in the future. And it's not immune from making the wrong decision (as is found in various posts on this site).

Windows never guarantees hardware support, just does the best job it can. In many cases human intervention is required to correct the situation.

The field of hardware versus drivers is just too disorderly for any database.

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